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Aetna Reduces Forecast Earnings Based on Increase in Pension Costs

Posted on 12 Jan 2009

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Aetna Inc. reduced its earnings forecast for this year because the “significant decline” in equity markets in 2008 caused an increase in pension costs.

The Hartford, Connecticut-based company said today that pension expenses will increase by 54 cents a share, compared with a 30 cent to 40 cent increase forecast in October. The statement didn’t give a per-share forecast for 2009 earnings.

Stock markets and interest rates have declined since Oct. 29, when the insurer last forecast earnings, “resulting in an additional increase in Aetna’s net pension obligations” at the end of last year, according to the statement. Excluding the pension costs, operating earnings will grow 12 to 14 percent this year, in line with an earlier forecast.